The Vivekachudamani is a famous work by Adi Shankara that expounds Advaita Vedanta philosophy. In Vivekachudamani, Shankara describes developing Vivekaâthe human faculty of discriminationâas the central task in the spiritual life and calls it the "crown jewel" among the essentials for Moksha. 'Viveka' means discrimination, 'Chuda' is crest, and 'Mani' means jewel. Hence the title means 'Crest-jewel of discrimination'. Sankara wrote commentaries on the Brahmasutra, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. His principal work is the Vivekachudamani.
Vivekachudamani consists of 580 verses in Sanskrit. It has the form of dialogue between the master and the disciple, where the master explains to the disciple the nature of the Atman and the ways to research and know the Atman. The book takes the disciple on a step by step instructions to reach Brahman.
The text begins with Adi Shankara's salutations to Govinda, which can be interpreted as God or his guru Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada. It then expounds the significance of Self Realisation, ways to reach it, and the characteristics of a Guru. It criticizes attachment to the body and goes to explain the various Sareeras, Kosas, Gunas, Senses and Pranas. It teaches the disciple the ways to attain Self realisation, methods of meditation (dhyana) and introspection of the Atman. The Vivekachudamani describes the characteristics of an enlightened man (Jivanmukta) and a man of steady wisdom (Sthitaprajna) on the lines of Bhagavad Gita.